The Top 10 Best Canvas Backpacks

The Best Canvas Backpacks are often the ones that are stylish, unique and posses a sense of durability.

Everyday, people like you and me are looking for a backpack that can be used for a variety of uses such as school, work, hiking, carrying camera gear or even just travel essentials.

The problem is, not many regular backpacks can be used for an array of activities, is durable and also quite affordable. Well the days of trawling the web for the 'perfect backpack' is gone!

Enter the Canvas Backpack! A Backpack that is both stylish and durable, oh and did I forget to add waterproof (another important characteristic of a great backpack).

So here I am to tell you about The Top 10 Canvas Backpacks You Can Bring Anywhere.

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Top 10Best Canvas Backpacks

What is a Canvas Backpack?

As I've mentioned, Canvas Backpacks are highly durable backpacks with a vintage appeal to them. They are typically made from cotton or polyester and can be used for just about any purpose you may have. 

The Canvas Backpacks are really affordable and come in a variety of styles that suit a lot of folks personality. There are also many great reasons that you may have for needing a backpack made of canvas.

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Different Types & Materials of the Best Canvas Backpacks

So many different types of Canvas Backpacks exists and it can be hard selecting the one you need that bests fits your purpose.

Canvas Backpack Materials

A Canvas Backpack can be found in cotton, polyester, nylon or a combination of these or other materials.

The most common of the lot is cotton canvas material which is perfect for providing durability and a degree of waterproofing.

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Types of Best Canvas Backpacks
Canvas Backpacks with Tonnes of Pockets

A common feature with any type of backpack is the amount of pockets that it could have. However there are some poorly designed backpacks that don't consider the use you may have for it.

For example, if you were to use a canvas backpack as a laptop bag then some of them come equipped with the necessary pockets for holding laptop equipment and also padding to secure your laptop and provide a cushion.

best canvas backpacks
Ones with Multiple Straps

Have you ever wondered why there are so many straps on some canvas bags as opposed to others? I mean straps enough to kit out a straight jacket haha!

Well, that is because certain canvas backpacks are designed with the user in mind. Some backpacks contain padded shoulder straps and also can be switched from a backpack into a handheld bag.

Canvas Backpacks Made of Cotton

The most common material used to make canvas backpacks is.... you guessed it! Cotton. 

Cotton can be considered beneficial for not causing any allergic reactions due to its hypoallegenic nature. It is also easy to take care of and is super soft.

Canvas backpacks made of cotton material will generally age over time and although it doesn't sound great, it gives the backpack a new vintage appeal to it. Potentially making others envy your cool backpack.

Canvas Backpacks Made of Polyester

Some canvas backpacks are made from polyester which makes them water and fade resistant.

The material is also perfect for prevention against wrinkling and shrinkage and the biggest benefit of having a canvas backpack made of polyester is the ease of cleaning.

Since polyester cannot shrink (as it is made of synthetic fibers) it cannot expel moisture or retain it, meaning there is little chance for having chance to grow mold or mildew.

What are Canvas Backpacks Used For

There are so many uses for canvas backpacks and it will really depend what you intend to use the bag for. 

Canvas Backpacks for School or College

Perfect for pre-school, primary and high school kids. The canvas school backpack comes in different sizes which is perfect to accommodate your ever growing children's needs.

The great thing about these types of bags is that they are generally flexible and soft, which is perfect for carrying books, lunch and fruits.

The front pocket can be used for storing smaller items such as pens, pencils, erasers and general smaller stationary items your kids may have.

best canvas backpacks for school
Canvas Backpacks for Hiking or Travel

Considering that when you go for hikes, your bag will get dirty quite easily. The best benefit of the hiking canvas backpack is the fact that they are so easy to wash (if there is no leather).

Waterproofing these bags are quite easy and you can do this yourself by either providing a wax coating (generally with a waxy based spray).

The hiking bag generally has a lot of straps, this is for changing the form (from backpack to handbag).

canvas hiking bag
Best Canvas Backpacks for Laptops

This type of canvas backpack is more of a bag than anything.

I have mentioned backpack due to certain canvas bags having multiple straps and the ability to change from backpack to handbag.

The laptop canvas bags are generally well padded to secure and provide safe carrying of your laptop.

Generally they have two compartments, one with a sleeve for the laptop and another for carrying office and laptop equipment.

I have a laptop canvas backpack and I made sure that it was waterproof so in case it rains my laptop is safe from water.

canvas latop bags
Canvas Camera Backpacks

What I love about the camera backpacks is the fact that they have their own nifty pockets for the DSLR camera and its parts.

Certain bags that you get has this section as a removable compartment, making it easy for you to place your lenses into the bag.

Since most canvas bags are waterproof, it means that your delicate camera gear will be protected in wet weather.

dslr best canvas backpacks
Canvas Sling Backpacks

What I love about the sling backpack is that it is very sleek and compact. Perfect for everyday urban living. 

The sling has other features that may not come with your laptop or camera canvas bag, such as a water bottle pocket. It is located typically on the sides for quick access to water.

This bag type is perfect for your college frat that likes to pack slim light bags (often with no course material in them)

sling best canvas backpacks

Features of High Quality Best Canvas Backpacks

By now, you're thinking wow canvas bags are pretty cool and if you're not prepared to be further wowed!

There are certain features that high quality canvas backpacks have that make you keep coming back for more.

If you're new to getting a canvas backpack then you need to know a few things to look for before diving in. I've compiled a simple list below of the features of high quality canvas backpacks, this includes what a good canvas backpack has.

An Abundance of Pockets

You can spot a good canvas backpack a mile away just from the number of pockets it has on it.

An essential step before purchasing a canvas backpack is to review the style and ensure that the bag has the main pocket you are after.

For example a laptop canvas bag that has a compartment to carry your laptop (the main padded section) and also another section to house your laptop/office equipment.

Multi-faceted Design

Consider going for a bag (where it applies) that is able to be used for a variety of occasions.

For example certain laptop bags can be converted into a backpack (or vice versa).

I know my brother has a canvas backpack but when he goes to the gym he converts it to a duffle style bag which carries his gym gear.

Carry Handles

Most backpacks are equipped with shoulder straps (typical backpack style). However have you ever considered changing it to a carry on that might be perfect for traveling on an airplane?

Or using it as a duffel bag like I mentioned in the multi-faceted design. 

Secure Closing Mechanisms

Always go for bags that have zippers, which are a better alternative to magnetic clips. Another great secure mechanism that canvas bags have is straps with pin holes.

The main compartment on a these types of bags are typically a drawstring with either plastic or belt like clips to securely close them.

Interior Lining

When you opt to go for a cotton backpack, make sure that it comes with an interior lining that prevents water ingress (cotton is prone for absorbing moisture).

This would leave the insides of your bag really wet and the contents too. All the bags I've gone for has a thin lining that prevents this from occuring.

However if you opt for a polyester bag, then this won't be an issue.


Having padded shoulder straps is crucial. As I've mentioned, canvas backpacks are extremely durable and strong, perfect for carrying a lot! 

If your straps are not padded it could lead to comfortably issues in the long run, so be sure to have soft padding straps

The Main Benefits of Using a Canvas Backpack

Amazingly Stylish

Are you the type to take style super seriously? I know I am! What's really great with canvas is that you can get them in all shapes, sizes and styles!

So there is bound to be a style and color for your taste buds :), and although canvas is stylish they never skip on being durable.

Incredibly Durable

Thick Canvas is incredibly strong and durable, in fact depending on the composition of materials used a Canvas bag can support a tensile force of over 100lbs.

That's saying that two people pulling at each end of the bag need the equivalent force of 100lbs to rip the material apart. How's that for incredibly durable.

It can also withstand extreme wear and tear conditions, as long as the buckles and the seams of the bag are sewn with quality.

Canvas Backpacks Can be Waterproof

There are some canvas backpacks that are waterproof right out off the shelf (we'll get to this later).

However, if you find one that isn't you can waterproof it yourself you don't need to worry as long as you have a thick quality bag water will take a while to get through.

Top 10 Best Canvas Backpacks Revealed

So you've made it this far (or you've skipped right here)! This is the moment of truth the top 10 canvas backpacks are here and the curtain is pulled back for your eyes.

Weather it is 2019, 2020 or somewhere 10 years from now. These stylish canvas backpacks are here to stay.

So without further ado, here they are! 

gootium thick canvas backpack

The gootium, is an amazon choice, high density backpack is an amazing all rounder backpack which can be used for pretty much outdoors, school or just your everyday canvas backpack.

It comes equipped with adjustable and padded shoulder straps which adds an extra layer of comfortably.

There is a main large compartment, perfect for holding your commuting supplies, one interior zippered pocket to protect your valuable belongings.

Other features include one front stashed pocket to carry smaller items you may have and also two handy side pockets


  • Perfect for Hiking and Outdoors
  • Brings out the Inner Indiana Jones in Most People
  • Sturdy and Functional
  • Unique Style
  • Several Pockets for Storage
  • 1 Main Large compartment
  • Cost Affordability: $$


  • Non Waterproof Bag
  • Small Sized Bag
WITZMAN Mens Travel Canvas Backpack

The WITZMAN mens travel backpack is an incredibly spacious 18.5" (small) or the large 21" backpack that doubles as a duffel bag as well.

This is a large canvas backpack and is nothing shy of amazing, with the ability to transform into different styles to suit purpose. Switch from backpack to hand duffel bag to over the shoulder strap bag. This bag is truly multi-functional.

The bag is made of high quality canvas and high-grade durable PU leather, which sets it apart from similar duffel canvas backpacks


  • Perfect for Everyday Urban Use or Travel
  • 1 Main Large Compartment with Padded Laptop Sleeve.
  • Use as a Tote Bag, Backpack or Cross Body Bag
  • Two Sizes Available
  • Several Pockets for Storage
  • High Quality


  • Non Waterproof Bag
  • Slightly to large for being a carry on to an airplane
  • Lower pocket is only suitable for small documents (passport, papers)
  • Cost Affordability: $$$
Tom Clovers Canvas Crossbody Messenger Bag

Tom Clovers weekender tote bag is the perfect canvas fashion statement! Heading out with your girlfriends for a coffee but don't want to lug around your huge work bag? 

Then the weekender tote bag is the perfect sling bag for you. The bag is 13" in size but although the size of a small laptop, the canvas folder over makes its a really compact and sturdy bag.

Sling this bag across your body when you're heading out for a more casual everyday look.


  • Sling Backpack perfect for casual use.
  • Suitable for carrying laptops
  • One main zipper compartment
  • High quality Leather strap 
  • Cost Affordability: $$


  • Water Resistant but Non Waterproof Bag
  • Extra fabric makes everyday use troublesome
  • Not very practical
weekender bag for men and woman

Need an every weekend duffel bag for both men and women? The Wowbox weekender duffel bag has got you covered.

This bag has a handy shoe compartment, a large side pocket for carrying electronics and a huge main compartment for pretty much anything.

The main handle is made of soft leather, which is perfect for providing extra comfort when hand carrying the bag.

If you don't like carrying bags then it does include a strap that can be added to throw over your shoulder.


  • Duffel Bag for Men and Women
  • Large side pocket and shoe compartment
  • One main zipper compartment
  • Stylish and high durability
  • Cost Affordability: $$


  • Water Resistant but Non Waterproof Bag
  • Not good for someone with a bad back
  • No shoulder pad on the strap, which could lead to pain on the shoulder.
Kattee Men's Leather Canvas Backpack

This canvas backpack is perfect for very slender looking people.

The main compartment is large enough to hold a laptop however when you start adding books it may place a little strain on the back.

It offers a great vintage appeal and is recommended for those who commute with a laptop and a light amount of books.


  • Large Capacity
  • Perfect for School, Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Decorative buckles with high-efficiency magnetic button closures
  • Stylish and high durability
  • Cost Affordability: $$


  • Water Resistant but Non Waterproof Bag
  • Not much padding in main compartment
  • Not great for large quantity of books
kaukko outdoor canvas backpack

One of the best canvas Laptop backpacks for school or college. It contains a dedicated compartment to securely hold your laptop fast when commuting.

Although it is specifically a laptop backpack, it does not limit its potential to be used as an outdoor or hiking backpack and is specifically designed to portray this look.

The canvas is made of a combination of linen and nylon and contains leather straps to give it the a semi vintage look.

Unfortunately this canvas backpack is also not waterproof, but it does contain a moisture liner on the inside to protect your laptop or books.

Although it is not a waterproof canvas, you can certainly apply a waterproof coating to take this to the next level.


  • Large Capacity 22 Liter Backpack
  • Perfect for School, Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Variety of Colors Available
  • Has padded straps
  • Cost Affordability: $$$


  • Water Resistant but Non Waterproof Bag
  • Not particularly great quality (based on reviews)
  • Magnetized buckles can snap open or break if the bag is tightly packed
Versatile Canvas Sling Bag

This sling back is highly versatile and an incredible strong durable canvas backpack that is made from the finest polyester materials.

The design is been crafted to make everyday wear as comfortable as possible and includes very soft padded, breathable straps and back panels.

Through it facing on your front or have it slung over your shoulder to the back. This bag itself is a urban fashion statement.

It contains two secure zipped pockets to protect your valuables against attempted theft. Hows that for piece of mind. This pocket is RFID anti-theft technology backpack that will make you feel secure all the time.

My recommendation is that this canvas backpack is perfect for high school or college students or travelers that are off sightseeing.


  • Padded, breathable and ergonomic straps and back panels
  • Lots of secure pockets and pouches for small items and valuables
  • Can be worn on the front or the back
  • Stylish and high durability
  • Cost Affordability: $$


  • Water Resistant but Non Waterproof Bag
  • Smaller than it appears
  • Doesn’t fit a large laptop
Vancropak Student Canvas Backpack

Vancropak have gone out their way to create an affordable and aesthetically pleasing backpack. It's filled with many pockets that are suitable for pens, books and phones.

The bag is apparently suitable for laptops up to 15.6 inches, however some customer reviews have suggest this is possibly only suitable for a iPad or 9" tablet.

One of the most stand out features of the back is the built in USB charging port. A downside is that you do need to provide your own portable USB charger.

I recommend this great affordable bag being perfect for high school or college students that carry light books and a few small items.


  • Built-in charging port and charging cable
  • Water-resistant polyester canvas
  • Small, compact design with room for school or work essentials
  • Padded back and shoulder straps
  • Cost Affordability: $


  • Water Resistant but Non Waterproof Bag
  • Too small for a laptop (unless it’s a small one less than 12-inches)
  • Smaller than anticipated
S-Zone Waxed Canvas Waterproof Camera Backpack For DSLR/SLR Cameras

One of the top canvas backpacks for housing a DSLR camera, the lenses and its accessories.

The greatest benefit of this bag is the fact that it is a waxed bag which means it is waterproof. This is a great addition for protection to your highly valuable DSLR camera.

My recommendation is that this bag suits professional photographers or students that have cameras. If you're the artsy type then this bag will offer an incredible look to your hipster vibe.


  • Waterproof exterior (thanks to the waxed canvas)
  • Removable padded camera insert to keep camera and parts safe
  • Padded laptop compartment for laptops up to 15.6-inches
  • Vintage aesthetic with leather trim, flap-over design, and front pockets with buckles
  • Cost Affordability: $$


  • Pockets have magnetic straps which tend to break or snap open, buckles would be better
  • Short Shoulder Straps
Wowbox Messenger Satchel Bag For Men And Women

Another bag that will make you look very smart and formal for work and school is the messenger satchel bag for both men and woman.

Wowbox have really outdone themselves with this versatile highly durable unique over the shoulder (or handheld) canvas bag.

The main compartment is securely padded to hold your high end 14-inch laptop with Velcro straps, which is a nice addition.

Although not waterproof this bag is water resistant, which means it can withstand moisture slightly with the lined internal surface. 

There are two exterior pockets with magnetic clips perfect for storing pens and small office equipment.

I recommend this bag for the up-class work professional lawyer, doctor or just your typical consultant.


  • Padded laptop compartment for laptops up to 14 inches
  • Detachable shoulder strap for wearing crossbody, or on the shoulder
  • Can be carried as a smart briefcase-style bag
  • Sophisticated, vintage style
  • Cost Affordability: $$


  • Water Resistant but Non Waterproof Bag
  • Magnetic clasps tend to break

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Canvas Backpacks

Are All Canvas Backpacks Waterproof?

The short sweet answer to this is, no not all canvas bags are waterproof! There are specific canvas backpacks that come waterproof off the shelf, but you need to makes sure you find this out.

Your bag will most likely be water resistant which means that it can withstand some water, but not a great deal. 

An important aspect a canvas bag should be is water resistant because this alone can protect your belongings from being victim to moisture creep and mold.

Are Canvas Backpacks Suitable for School?

Certainly, there are many styles available for school. I have covered a few but if you look over through the link below you will find something that you may like šŸ™‚

Can You Wash Canvas Backpacks?

To answer this simply, yes you can wash and clean canvas backpacks and bags. You can do this by hand washing your bag or sponging down.

If you want to know more about this, read on as I've decided to share a little more to help you clean your bag.

How to Clean Canvas Backpacks?

The most important aspect when it comes to washing a canvas backpack is to first read the label.

Washing instructions are important as it can prolong the life of the bags materials. If you didn't follow the washing instructions you could very well be reducing the quality of the material and shortening the life of your bag.

As I've mentioned you can either hand wash or sponge down your bag, so below is a quick guide to help you clean your canvas backpacks.

Hand Wash

Start by filling a medium sized bucket with Luke warm water. You'll need to add a small dash of gentle detergent, mixed with some fabric softener.

Next proceed to place the bag in the bucket (or the sink) and submerge it slowly and gently. You want to do this so that the material will absorb the water and cleaning mixture.

Start by gently scrunching the bag into the water (almost like your hands are pistons) this will allow the cleaning mixture to flow through the microfibres of the bag and clean out the dirt and stains.

Do this for about 5 - 10 minutes to really get it clean. Once you are done clean out the bucket (or drain the sink) and add clean luke warm water.

Repeat the above process to remove any additional dirt and now the soap mixture as well. You want to go through this until the bag has no dirt and stains and that the soap has left the bag.

When you're done hang the bag on a washing line and begin the drying process.

Sponge Down

This may be a less effective way of cleaning the bag. I find that if you have huge lumps of dirt sponging down first and then hand wash will clean it more thoroughly.

Wet a sponge (or cloth) and gently stroke the soiled areas. I like mixing the sponge in a light soapy solution to make the bag smell fresh afterwards.

Use a toothbrush or fine bristle brush to get in the tough to clean spots.

Once you're done hang out the bag and let it air dry on the clothes line.


So there you have it, I have reviewed the top 10 best canvas backpacks for hiking, camping, school and the outdoors.

These bags can be used for just about any purpose you may have, they are stylish and considered durable and long lasting if taken care of. The most important questions to ask before buying a canvas backpack is;

  • Do you need a small backpack for travel?
  • Are you needing a canvas backpack for laptops?
  • Looking for backpacks with drawstrings?

If you have anything else to share, pop them in the comment box below I would love to hear more about your experience with canvas backpacks.

Important Resources

These are companies and courses/services I've personally vetted and recommend.

Marco B @ Bottom Line Cents

Marco is the founder of Bottom Line Cents, a blog about travel and personal finance. He primarily talks about ways to make money online with side income. He has paid off over $40,000 in student debt due to his side gigs and his thriving nature to succeed.

  • Thank you so much for this !! I always have such a hard time choosing a backpack šŸ™‚

  • Jenny says:

    I love canvas backpacks. Iā€™m partial to Herschel, but I saw one here that I think my daughter will love. I may be back to grab the student canvas pack pack for her! You are right, they are durable, and stylish at the same time. And multipurpose.

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